Movie Notes: The Little Princess

Oh my God, what a horrible movie. Reader Shakti warned me I’d hate it, and I should have listened. Because I really hated it. The only characters that made sense were Queen Victoria and Bertie, and they are not even in the novel!

The book itself was mangled to the point of utter ridiculousness. The utterly unneeded love story, the idiotic musical numbers – and why, why do there need to be musical numbers in everything? – the fact that the Dad was turned into a hero of the Boer war instead of a shifty capitalist type and a total flake, oh goodness.

The kid was super cute but she’s a stoic British introvert like I’m Maya Plisetskaya. The whole point about Sara being a little princess in the book had to do with the idea that even in the midst of poverty and hunger she preserves her dignity, poise, and a sense of self-worth. She doesn’t run around throwing garbage on people’s heads like a typical American spoiled brat.

The horrible Victorian poverty was completely erased. The exploitation of child labor, the unbreakable class barriers, the snobbery – all gone.

The whole reason I like the book is that it teaches kids about the value of humanity, of imagination, of books. It teaches that you don’t have to be pretty, or rich, or sociable. You can be an awkward, unattractive, bookish child but your intellect and strength will keep you going.

Klara loved it although she didn’t understand a single thing people were saying. But she is a screen-deprived child who’ll stare at a soap commercial on a loop if anybody lets her.

9 thoughts on “Movie Notes: The Little Princess”

  1. Commercials are great, though. I’m entirely convinced that, when we move away from the current form of social organization enough for them to no longer be so pervasive, that they’ll be remembered as the greatest form of art of our age.

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  2. Judging by your description here and by the trailer of a new movie, you may have liked the new version better and it may be truer to the original novel.

    Have you seen the trailer? I liked it, but haven’t watched the movie.

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      1. \ The one that’s set in New York? Or is there another one?

        I do not know where it is set, but I liked it and think it’s closer to what you want from this movie than the old movie you’ve watched. I linked to a trailer in the previous comment, but you probably haven’t seen it in that app.

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  3. I also liked the trailer of the new version of “The Secret Garden” better than the old one. Newer doesn’t always mean worse.

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    1. That’s the first time I saw Shirley Temple, so I don’t want to draw hasty conclusions but for now I’m with your mom. We had great child actors in the USSR – although never as well-fed – and they were a lot more uninhibited and just simply good at acting.

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  4. The utterly unneeded love story, the idiotic musical numbers – and why, why do there need to be musical numbers in everything? – the fact that the Dad was turned into a hero of the Boer war instead of a shifty capitalist type and a total flake, oh goodness.
    You can’t have a Shirley Temple movie in the 1930s without a song and dance number. I had forgotten about the Boer War, but that’s the kind of war in which anti-colonialists just root for lots of injuries. I guess the film makers thought any war hero was better than no war hero.

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